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Dame Judi Dench Photo by: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Dame Judi Dench to star in true-life movie based on Irish unmarried mother

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Dame Judi Dench Photo by: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Dame Judi Dench has signed on to play in the true life story of Philomena Lee, a heartbroken Irish mother whose search for her long lost son she gave up for adoption ended up at his grave.

The film will be directed by Stephen Frears.

Due to be shot in Ireland, Dench will play the role of Lee, an Irish unmarried woman who was forced to give her baby up for adoption after being committed to a Catholic institution in the 1950s.

The son, whose adoptive name was Michael Hess, was secretly sold by nuns in Tipperary to a wealthy American couple. He rose to become chief legal counsel to President George Bush Senior.
Hess was secretly gay and later died of AIDS. He made several efforts to contact his mother.
However, the nuns in Roscrea in Tipperaryrebuffed him, but in return for a large donation he was allowed to buy a burial plot in the convent cemetery. He left a message to his mother on his gravestone hoping she would find him. He never knew his birth mother was searching for him until she finally tracked him down.

The film is based on a book by Martin Sixsmith, a formerBBC TV foreign correspondent and government communications director.

Read More: How 3-year-old boy was stolen from mother by Irish nuns and sold for adoption into U.S.

Lee met Sixsmith in 2004 and the two embarked on a story to find her long lost son, who she was unaware had been adopted by American parents.

Steve Coogan, who will portray the role of Sixsmith, told IFTN: “The film is a comic tragedy or a tragic comedy. It's about two very different people, at different stages of their lives, who help each other and show that there is laughter even in the darkest places.”

Stephen Frears will direct the movie adaption which is due to be shot in on location in London, Ireland, and Washington DC. Filming is expected to begin in Ireland next month.

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